In the early days of your business, you were wearing all the hats and doing all the things. And maybe you felt like you had it all in control.
Then you got busy - more clients, more appointments, more staff, more paperwork.
You may be working longer hours, later nights, or have multiple to-do lists that never seem to keep growing. Maybe a lot of those tasks keep getting put to the bottom. I bet a few are marketing tasks like social media posts, follow-up emails, and adding new employees to the website.
Or maybe I’m wrong.
If you’re not sure, have you caught yourself saying one of the following:
“Yeah, I meant to post/send/write that…”
You have so many great ideas but forget to write them down or, even if you do, you don’t get marketing created from it before it’s no longer relevant. Catch yourself saying “Yeah I meant to (fill in the blank)” more than once a week? It might be a good time to pass the marketing baton. Marketing can take time and good marketing takes even more. If you feel like your business time is better spent elsewhere, especially before you’re stretched thin, it’s a good time to start looking for some help.
“How do I know what tools I need?”
If you haven’t yet, give my blog about my top 9 ½ tools for small business marketing a quick read. There are SO many options out there to “make marketing easier” but it still takes some effort on your part. And that’s after you’ve learned how to use them. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all the tools offered, many marketing companies and freelancers make it their job to learn them so their clients don’t have to. Many times the marketing firm has an upgraded version of the tool that makes your marketing more seamless without you worrying about the cost of the tools.
“Business is good and I’d like to actually have time for my (friends, family, hobbies, etc)”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we get into business to stop punching a clock and working long hours? Sure, when you first start your business, it’s expected but if your business is growing steadily and you’re seeing a decent profit, it’s a good time to add or increase your marketing line item in your budget. Even if you’re still early in business and trying to keep costs low, look at hiring an intern. Many need the hours to graduate college, but don’t let the thought of a "free intern" enter your mind. It’s a great chance for you to keep your cost low while giving them some great real-world experience they can put into their portfolio, and it will be well worth your investment to pay them a small salary. Reach out to a local university to see if they have a marketing program and let them know you’re looking for a student to hire. Otherwise, if you’re ready to pass it off and know it’s in the hands of a professional, and your budget is healthy for it, hire an agency or freelancer.
Know you’re ready and not sure where to start?
1. Decide if you need someone part-time (perfect for a college student) or full-time (this could be someone you hire in-house [another expense to consider] or an outside agency). Also look at what types of marketing you want done: email campaigns, social media campaigns (paid and unpaid), marketing strategy, marketing analytics, web content (new or updated), etc. Depending on what you list out, it will definitely make a difference in who you hire.
2. Next is to have a set budget in mind. One of the questions I ask on my Contact page is “what are you able to invest in this project?” I state that it’s not so I max out that amount but help you make the right decisions to stay within that amount. Also decide how you’re going to pay - all upfront, 50/50, monthly payments, etc
3. Finally, ask around for suggestions. See what other business owners are doing, who they recommend, etc. A great place to check is a local chamber. Don’t forget to do your own homework. Each agency and freelancer will have their own style and possible niche, so it’s good to see examples of work and a list of their past clients.
Don’t underestimate the power of your marketing. With the right plan in place, you’ll take your small business and make it grow, or make sure the growth continues. Most importantly, take care of yourself by knowing when it’s time to pass some of the balls you’ve been juggling before they all come crashing down.
Thoughts from Me
Tips, advice, and more from my experience as a copywriter, marketer, and small business owner.